Sat, 01 Oct 1994

RI will revise laws on TRIPs next year

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's ratification of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) calls for it to revise its laws on property rights, copyrights and trademarks, Minister of Trade Satrio Budiardjo Joedono said here yesterday.

"The government will submit three bills on property rights, copyrights and trademarks to the House of Representatives (DPR) next year," Joedono said in a hearing with House Commission I yesterday.

The hearing was part of the commission's deliberations on the bill for the ratification of the GATT, which will be administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) early next year.

Yesterday the commission formed a special team to further deliberate the GATT bill. The team, which is headed by Abu Hasan Sazili M. of the ruling Golkar faction, will start the deliberations today.

The House is expected to ratify the GATT agreement signed in Marrakesh last April before the summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bogor, West Java, next month.

Joedono noted that Indonesia still has five years to adjust its laws on TRIPs (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) to bring them in line with the GATT principles.

"However, we want to have them revised earlier," Joedono said.

The three rulings, which need revision are Law No. 7/1987 on copyrights, Law No. 6/1989 on patents and Law No. 9/1990 on designs and trademarks.

The TRIPs issue has been the concern of developed countries as they claim that there have been more and more TRIPs violations in developing countries, such as the copying of trademarks, cassettes, laser disks and computer programs.

TRIPs, which are currently handled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will be taken over by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is expected to be formed next year. Under the WTO, TRIPs will refer to the Bern Convention on copyrights and the Paris Convention on industrial rights.


Indonesia is not a member of the Bern Convention, but a member of the Paris Convention, although with reservations. A number of industrial countries, like the United States, European countries and Australia, have made bilateral agreements on TRIPs with Indonesia to protect their products from TRIPs violations here.

Joedono yesterday also noted that if the House ratifies GATT agreements, Indonesia will lose nothing as there will be no major changes in the current import tariffs.

"Our import tariffs are standing at 20 percent across the board, while our commitment in the GATT is 40 percent. So, there is no need to cut the import duties from the current levels," Joedono said.

When asked about a study by the World Bank indicating that Indonesia will lose over one trillion rupiah when GATT agreements come to affect next year, Joedono said "the study is out of date" as it was conducted long before the Uruguay Round was signed.

He argued that Indonesia can even benefit by ratifying GATT because there will be more chances for Indonesian products to enter the world market as Industrial countries have made commitments to cut their import tariffs up to 33 percent. (rid)